By Joe Low

Fall is a great time for planting trees and shrubs in Denver. Nurseries are offering sales that will save you money and the cooler temperatures will give your plant the best possible shot at thriving. Getting trees to thrive in your Denver yard takes work. It is important to choose varieties that can tolerate the wild temperature swings and alkaline soil we live with. Think about those 60-degree afternoons that turn into a 15-degree blizzard that night. Analyze the area where you want the tree. Are there overhead power lines, walls, is it a wet spot, a dry spot, is it shady or does it get blasted by afternoon sun?

Keep in mind seasonal color when selecting a tree. Denver landscapes can be more than green and yellow!

The following are some trees to consider when landscaping your Denver yard.

Fruit Trees

  • Sour pie cherries Good Colorado tree, with beautiful blossoms and tart fruit. They are good for a small yard.
  • Honey Crisp Apple: This tree reaches to about 12 feet and is hardy to minus 40 degrees.

“Show” Trees

  • Golden Rain Tree: 30-40′ in height, grows well in full sun to partial shade. A good urban tree, the Golden Rain Tree tolerates drought, alkaline soil, heat, wind and air pollution.
  • Royal Raindrops crab apple: Drought and wind resistant.
  • June Snow dogwood: A Front Range-friendly dogwood that comes highly rated by CSU.
  • Seven Sons flower: A fall-blooming small tree or large shrub.
  • Russian hawthorn: With low water needs, the Russian Hawthorne is a good choice for the xeriscape garden.
  • Crimson Spire oak: A columnar oak that gets very high marks from CSU.
  • Tatarian Maple : This small maple should be used more in Colorado. It is similar to Amur maple , but tolerates alkaline soils better.

Shade Trees

  • Accolade elm: Resistant to Dutch elm disease. Good tree for big, open spaces.
  • Chinkapin oak: Does well in alkaline soil.
  • Kentucky coffee tree: Alternative to ash trees. Drought- tolerant.

Conifers

  • Bristlecone pine: Colorado native tree. Drought and pest resistant.
  • Limber pine: Colorado native tree.